In a previous article, Wynn at Law, LLC, highlighted why the holidays are an ideal time to discuss your estate planning needs. The old adage ‘there’s no time like the present’ holds true with estate planning. So, here is a little more detail on the most common, and sometimes overlooked, planning tool: The Will.
There are three types of wills about which you should give some thought. The Last Will and Testament is what most people know about and refer to generally as a “Will.” In addition to the Last Will and Testament, there is also a Living Will and a Pourover Will.
The Last Will and Testament
There are dozens of online templates that suggest you can do this yourself. The problem with that is simple: How many have you done? An experienced attorney will help you create a legally binding document that specifically suits your needs, expresses what your final wishes are, and is tailored to Wisconsin law. That’s so important, because the tool speaks for you after you pass on, directing how you want assets divided and appointing who will be in charge of acting on your estate’s behalf.
The Living Will
The Last Will and Testament becomes effective at your passing, while the Living Will speaks for you when you are unable to speak for yourself due to injury or illness. This document makes known your wishes regarding life prolonging medical treatments. This tool, also called an advanced directive, is every bit as important as the Last Will and Testament. However, a University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia study found that less than a third of adults have a Living Will.
The Pourover Will
We’re covering Trusts next in this series, but you should know that this particular tool can save the day for your loved ones. When you forget or neglect to add all property into your planning documents over the years– and people do forget to go back and revise their estate plan when circumstances change – this tool puts the forgotten property into a Trust. This tool got its name because any assets you failed to title into your trust prior to your passing will “pour over” into the trust after you are gone.
Stay up to date
You’re going to want to review all of these Wills and your wishes periodically, too, because ‘life happens.’ In the following two articles on the Estate Planning Toolbox, Wynn at Law, LLC, guides you through Trusts and Powers of Attorney.